Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times wrote of President Obama’s discussion of his Christianity on Tuesday in Albuquerque:
“I’m a Christian by choice,” the president said. “My family, frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week. My mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew but she didn’t raise me in the church, so I came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead. Being my brothers and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me, and I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes and we achieve salvation through the grace of God.”
No. Neither makes the mistake of relying on a shorter Pew Forum quiz to arrive at the wrong answer.
Yet both use headlines which mislead readers toward believing that by comparing their scores on the full, 32-question quiz to the aggregate scores for atheists and agnostics who were surveyed, they can determine whether they’re smarter than an atheist.
Not going to happen. No opportunity to disaggregate the Pew data to find you an atheist with whom to compare yourself is offered.
Nor is the full survey an intelligence test.
The measurement tool reveals and was designed to reveal social trends.
The data can be useful to those who analyze and apply it. As opposed to the recreation of applying the measurement tool to yourself.